The Tennessee Volunteers hosted Vanderbilt for the regular season finale on Saturday night. But it was gray skies and Freshman RB Eric Gray that stole the show on Rocky Top.
The first couple drives were a little too similar to the early season woes, the last thing we wanted to see for this group of seniors. After a Guarantano interception, Vandy was first to get on the board with a 41-yard FG by Ryley Guay for the 3-0 lead. There was plenty of action from the punters through the night, whether that was due to the rain or bad play I guess we’ll truly never know. Tennessee’s defense was lock-down all night, but the offense took a little longer to get a spark. Toward the end of the 1st quarter, Freshman Eric Gray took off for a 56-yard TD run to take the lead 7-3.
The 2nd quarter started with a little excitement for the Vols. A high snap over the punter sent the ball back to the end zone giving the Vols a great opportunity. While they weren’t able to block or recover, it did get them good field position on the Vandy 47. A couple more Eric Gray runs and a nice 14-yard pass to Dominick Wood-Anderson set the Vols up in prime scoring position on the 6 yard line. The drive was capped off by another pass to DWA to extend the lead to 14-3. A penalty on the punt return set the Vols back to their own 6 for a seemingly long drive. Eric Gray saw an opportunity and ran, literally. Gray found a seam and went the full 94 yards in 1 play to put the Vols up 21-3. This run is the longest run in 42 years for the Vols and the longest by a freshman in SEC history.
The 2nd half was another one with a whole lot of punting. Vandy was first to find the end zone. After a long, 90-yard drive, Riley Neal found Kalija Lipscomb for a 22-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 21-10. The Vols answered immediately. This drive was probably the most special as the senior WRs finally a little action that kept the drive alive. But who was it to finish off the drive? None other than Eric Gray, racking up his 3rd TD of the night on the 4-yard carry. This TD would give us our final score at 28-10 for the Vols win.
While I think all of us wanted an absolute crushing of Vanderbilt, it was a win in the end none the less. Vandy was starting to get a little too big for their britches and the Vols needed to make sure they went back to Nashville with a full understanding of who runs the state of Tennessee. Now we wait on which bowl the Vols will land in and send these seniors out on the best note possible after the rough 0-2 start. Go Vols!
J. Guarantano: 6/17, 120 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 49.9 QBR
E. Gray: 25 rush, 246 yards, 3 TD
J. Jennings: 2 rec., 56 yards
R. Neal: 14/29, 139 yards, 1 TD, 33.7 QBR
K. Brooks: 13 rush, 70 yards
K. Lipscomb: 4 rec., 43 yards, 1 TD
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